Monday, May 24, 2010

books (an essay in progress)

I'm not sure where this is going. I'm not sure where I want it to go. But it must go somewhere. So I'm looking to my best readers to tell me, of all things, why we read. And, of course, buy books. (Note: This is a video essay, which is why it's sparse on the concrete, physical details you all crave.)

on books

When I moved to Chicago, I brought five books with me. Maybe it was seven. Maybe ten. Maybe I shouldn’t count the books about Chicago I brought to Chicago.

Two days after I moved to Chicago, I bought two books—sequels to the book I had read on the plane. The same book I read again the first night in Chicago.

I bought books for class.

I bought books that I already owned in Utah. Books that I didn’t feel comfortable without. One book that I never owned, but checked out from the library at least twice a year. Books that were strictly guilty pleasure reading.

Maybe every book is a guilty pleasure.

Thin volumes of poetry. More substantial anthologies, all of them with the same poets, the same poems.

The three books by Anne Carson that I bought at a reading, and one I had brought from home. When I asked her to sign all four, she wrote “For Sarah, respectfully,” four times. She never looked at me.

The biography of Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee I bought at a store where they sell books by the pound.

Three copies of The Great Gatsby. I’m not overly fond of The Great Gatsby, except for a single line:

Sunday, May 02, 2010

sleep isn't on the agenda

I should be exhausted. And I am. But I'm not sleeping.

It might have something to do with the sirens that blew past my building 20 minutes ago, but that's just silly. Silly sirens.

Today was quite lovely: errands, schoolwork, laundry, grocery shopping. The kind of Saturday where you get things checked off your list and ready for the coming week.

Last Saturday was not that kind of Saturday.

Actually, last week was not that kind of week. The last two weeks. When did my life get to be so busy?

I have back-to-back classes again, this time Tuesday/Wednesday. And Tuesday's class is the most homework I've done in the MFA. It's awesome, I love it, it's killing me homework.

So Tuesday and Wednesday are always done for. (Wednesday wouldn't be so bad, except that it's in Chicago, which means an hour bus ride. An hour each way.)

Two weeks ago Monday I left work sick, got some medicine, took a nap, and went back to campus to finish a homework assignment for Tuesday. Tuesday class. Wednesday class. Thursday I left work early to meet up with my more-than-adorable cousin Kimber at the Art Institute. I dragged her around the building before sending her off to a show and myself off to do laundry. Friday night I had dinner with my work friends, and then my favorite work friend (and the only one who also lives in Evanston) and I went to see The Losers. Our review: hot men and explosions. Go team.

Saturday was actually a very good day. I begged a ride to the eight-stake YSA activity, which is something I never do, but I did do this time (I meant that sentence to read awkwardly) because MTA Kimber was performing with her vocal group from BYU-I and I wanted to cheer her on. She was awesome, the dancing (my dancing) was awkward, and the night ended with one of the most perfect moments of my life--Kimber did some dragging of her own to get her group to sing "Scarborough Fair" to me and a few friends (and the rest of the YSA-ers who were still around) after the concert/dance. Kimber's pretty cool for a cousin.

The night actually had two endings--the amazing singing, and then some punchy-it's-too-late entertainment at White Castle. My branch headed over to the chain so that two 19 year-olds could say that they had been there. (And one 29 year-old.) I wish I had been filming, because we thought we were pretty funny.

Sunday was church, and then more homework. On campus. Because Tuesday is evil.

(More sirens, if you're wondering.)

Monday night might have been the best time I've had in Chicago. It's hard to follow up Kimber's visit, but two of my MFA friends and I got to teach an undergrad advanced poetry workshop. It was awesome. I love teaching, so much. I know it's where I'm headed, but I wish I could get there a little faster. Oh well. We were brilliant. Hell, I was brilliant. The classroom is my stage and I owned. But enough of my modesty.

And that brings us back to Do--I mean, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was the first free night I'd had in two weeks, and I spent it doing nothing. No thing. Maybe dishes.


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